Boy bands gets the Heathers treatment in this madcap macabre.
Moldavsky’s debut novel is a subversive take on the discontents of celebrity and obsessive fandom. Her 15-year-old narrator is so unreliable that readers never learn her real name; she uses a series of sobriquets culled from her favorite John Hughes films of the 1980s. She surrounds herself with fellow “Strepurs,” manic fans of The Ruperts, a boy band curated by the host of the fictionally hilarious So You Think the British Don’t Have Talent? This nest of vipers—vapid, vicious, and vitriolic—is led by queen bee Erin, whose “biggest talent in life [is] making being bad feel so good.” Backed up by the bellicose Isabel and spoiled Apple, Erin orchestrates an overnight escapade in the SoHo hotel where The Ruperts are staying. Murder and mayhem ensue. As the situation spirals out of control and the panicked girls begin to behave even more erratically than their normal crazed-fan selves, the narrator eventually realizes that her so-called best friends are actually psychopaths. When they close ranks to dispute her own detailed memory of the night’s events, she and readers both begin to wonder if she might be the craziest Strepur of them all.
A sendup of the artificiality of the fame-making machine from both sides, the novel’s humor is mercilessly black, and no one comes up smelling like roses. (Fiction. 14 & up)